Behind the tourist dollar

Twice a day, Wayan and his son Gede head up a hill with a load of greens hacked from the surrounding area, to tempt the palates of their hungry goats, who are giving back to the family in more ways than one.

The goats will eventually be sold to provide income for medicine, school fees, cooking oil and household items. In the meantime, they’re providing (literally) heaps of manure that can be sold off to the local coffee farmer.

High in the mountains north of Denpasar, Indonesia, Wayan and his wife Puta are part of a community left behind by the tourist dollar. They’re landless small farmers, cut out of the tourist industry and literally struggling to survive. If you’ve ever visited Bali, you’ll know how important you are to the local economy. But for local people without the means to work in hospitality or its associated industries, life in Bali is increasingly difficult. Continue Reading

Transform Tranby, transform lives

When ‘Big Kev’ found himself down on his luck and without a place to call home, he turned to UnitingCare West’s (UCW) Tranby Centre. All he wanted was a simple breakfast, a hot shower and someone to listen to his story. He was homeless, but at Tranby he found a spark of hope. That spark became a flame when our team was able to connect Kev with vital government services and eventually, to secure a small unit – his own home.

Fast forward two years and Kev still visits Tranby most days, offering advice and listening to other people’s stories. He is one of a group of people from all walks of life who have, or are still  experiencing homelessness, working with UnitingCare West on an ambitious project to ‘Transform Tranby’. Continue Reading

Open doors in the city

For many years, churches in the Perth CBD have been opening their doors and offering a place of sanctuary where people can take time out of their busy day to pray, meditate, nurture their spirituality and seek assistance as needed.

The three Uniting Churches, Wesley, Trinity and Ross Memorial, which make up Uniting Church in the City (UCIC), are open to the public every weekday to provide an oasis of peace in the midst of a busy city. Uniting Church in the City’s vision to be vibrant and distinctive worshipping communities working collaboratively to touch hearts and transform lives through Christ is evident in  this simple, but much needed, missional activity.

Workers, residents, shoppers, tourists and people seeking historical information visit the churches regularly. Many come seeking a quiet space whilst others come to view the architecture of the buildings and to trace family histories. Some come seeking assistance or just a kind, listening ear. Volunteers offer a welcoming face; greeting visitors with a friendly smile, answering questions and giving directions. Continue Reading

Period of Discernment: time between you and God

A Period of Discernment (POD) with the Uniting Church WA is an opportunity to take some time to think seriously about God’s call on your life.

Sione Leaaetoa recently undertook a POD, finishing up the year-long process last year. He began the process after studying a Bachelor of Ministry at the Perth Bible College. Sione had known for a  long time that he wanted to work for the church, and since he, his wife Ana and their three children attend Scarborough Uniting Church, they decided to explore Sione’s call to ministry through the Uniting Church WA’s POD process.

Ana is now also undertaking a POD herself.

Sione feels that his POD cemented his calling to ordained ministry, meaning he is now going into the candidating process with a stronger knowledge about life in ministry.

“We knew that we wanted to be involved in the church, but to actually have that formal time of thinking and praying about it is actually good because you’re not just making the decision out of your own ego,” Sione said. “Through the POD, my calling to ministry was cemented because I feel like this is the right place for me to go. This is the right decision.” Continue Reading

Record crowd at Perth Palm Sunday walk

Former Premier of Western Australia, Dr Carmen Lawrence, and now Professor in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Western Australia, addressed a record crowd of close to 1 500 people outside St George’s Cathedral at the Perth Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees, held on 25 March.

Dr Lawrence drew attention to the cruelty of Australia’s refugee policies, saying, “We know that the current policies are costly, costly in human terms and financial terms, and cruel, unutterably cruel, defying the refugee convention to which we’re signatory.”

Newly installed Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy AO, Australia’s first female Archbishop, in one of her first major public appearances as Archbishop added her voice to the call for a humane response to people seeking safety saying, “Australians are a compassionate people. Instead of limbo and uncertainty, we can offer safety, freedom and a future.”Continue Reading

Byford celebrates

On Sunday 10 December, Byford Uniting Church celebrated its 90th anniversary with a special Thanksgiving Service. The service also celebrated the work of the congregation’s Crisis Care volunteers, who provide support to people in the community who may be experiencing domestic violence and other forms of crisis.

The foundation of Byford Uniting Church was laid in 1927, with Mr and Mrs Abernathy mentioned on wall plaques still on the church today. Mrs Scott and Miss Cole have also been acknowledged, though without plaques, as two pioneers of the church building being built. On 31 March 1928, the church was  opened by then Moderator of the General Assembly of WA (Presbyterian), Rev George Tulloch. Continue Reading

Hands-on ministry in Meeka

Rev Mitch Fialkowski was inducted in Meekatharra as Patrol Minister, or ‘Bush Chaplain’, in the Remote Area Ministry Murchison Patrol in December.

Mitch has been working in the region for around five years with Frontier Services. His role was previously under the umbrella of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church, however recent changes at Frontier Services mean Mitch’s role is now within the Uniting Church WA, and is supported by fundraising though Frontier Services.

Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, and Rev David de Kock, General Secretary, travelled up to Meekatharra for the service, where Steve preached. Rev John Dihm, Remote Area Minister based in Tom Price, made the seven and a half hour drive to Meekatharra to attend the service and  present Mitch with a beautiful stole. Continue Reading